Transformers Classics (Dinobots Team Review)

in 2006, Action Figure Review, Autobot, Classics, Generation One, Mini-Con

General Information:
Release Year: December 2006
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Price: $6.99 (Average depending on retailer)
Accessories: None

Images:

*Image from the official Transformers web site.

Tech Specs:*
The DINOBOTS fight where others fear to go. Adventurers through and through, KNOCKDOWN, TERRORSAUR and SWOOP are more at home in the thickest, most poisonous jungles of the galaxy than they are in the comfortable machine cities of CYBERTRON. When a mission requires animal instincts, sure feet and a laser-proof hide, the DINOBOTS are the ones to call.

Knockdown Review

Images:

Tech Spec Stats:

Strength: 10 Intelligence: 4 Speed: 4 Endurance: 10 Rank: 4 Courage: 9 Fireblast: 4 Skill: 6

Beast Mode:
Continuing a tradition started by the G1 Dinobot Slag, a new Transformer takes on the dinosaur form of a triceratops. Knockdown represents something else, one of the first attempts at a Mini-Con based on a beast form. While we fans have grown accustomed to years of techno-organic Transformers beasts, Knockdown represents a mechanical version of a Triceratops, again harking back to G1 Slag.

The very front of the head has the beak like curved mouth characteristic of the species. At the center of the nose is a horn. On the sides of the head are two much larger horns. There are several lines and raised surfaces that follow the curves running from front to back as well as side to side all over the head. On the ridge of the nose/beak are several horizontal lines. The sides of his frill have an indented section on each side, with lines sweeping back inside that kind of resemble bundles of cables.

The front legs and rear legs have different designs, but they both use the same principle. Though each leg is just one solid piece, each is sculpted with layers of detail. Armor plates rest over inner layers of cable and horizontal lines. Running from the mid-section to the tail are grouped sections of armor that end towards the end of the tail. On either side of the tail is a Mini-Con Powerlinx point. While it makes for fairly awkward placement since Knockdown winds up sideways on some Transformers, it is probably the best location for the point on this sculpt. It's also cool that he has one on each side, allowing him to connect on either side.

Knockdown is cast in two primary colors: brown and a light lavender. The head and rear legs are the lavender color, the front legs and most of the main body are brown. Metallic light blue is used for detailing on the horns and the front leg. A splash of yellow can be found on the cable bundles on his frill and on the rear legs. A silver Autobot symbol is painted on the area right above his left, rear leg.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Swing each front leg out and down.
  2. Swing the lower body piece (that's connected to the robot legs) down.
  3. Split the tail/middle section in half and swing each half out to the side.
  4. Push the front nose piece down and swing up the robot head.
  5. Swing the nose piece back.
  6. Rotate the rear beast mode legs around to form the robot arms.

Robot Mode:
Knockdown's unique transformation affords him an interesting appearance in robot mode. With the halves of the central body and beast mode head forming most of the upper body, Knockdown has an extremely powerful appearance. The horns of the beast mode wind up on his chest, so he looks extra dangerous. In another nice design decision, the rear beast mode legs are curved, so in this form they look like very muscular arms. Each arm has a fist sculpted into the end. The legs are thin since they are the front beast legs expanded out. However, what this does is magnify the effect of the larger upper body.

The head sculpt is very robotic, with a simple robotic look that contrasts well with the beast form. The waist piece is really nicely sculpted, with several line details in triangular and hexagonal patterns. Look at the sides of his lower legs and you'll see curved lines connecting to others. I think it's great that a section that is originally hidden has details sculpted into it.

Knockdown has four points of articulation in this form. His arms and legs can move up and down. The arms are on ball joints, allowing for a good range of motion.

Swoop Review

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Strength: 5 Intelligence: 10 Speed: 6.5 Endurance: 7.5 Rank: 10 Courage: 7 Fireblast: 5 Skill: 9

While many of the iconic G1 characters are returning as deluxe or Voyager class figures in the Classics line, it seems one character may have returned as a Mini-Con of all things. The G1 Dinobot Swoop was a pteranadon like mechanical dinosaur. Now as part of the Dinobots group, this Swoop is also a pteranadon based mechanical dinosaur. He also happens to be mainly grey, red and gold - three of the principle colors of the G1 Dinobot. Add to that the high rank he holds in his tech spec and it seems highly probable that this is either the G1 character reborn or a homage piece.

Beast Mode:
In beast mode, Swoop is very reminscent of his G1 namesake. His wings are very triangular with only a slight curve on the front. The back has a slightly more severe curve leading to his rear feet. The head is pointed and triangular as one would expect, with a crest extending to the back over his neck.

I was very pleased by the amount of detail on the wings. He's not techno-organic, so in place of feathers or scales you have details such as vents and armor plates. His beast head is made up of two parts: the upper section that is the crest and upper beak. The lower section is the lower portion of the mouth. Each of the feet at the end has three claws. On the underside of the wings you'll find three clawed hands attached to each wing.

The wings are on ball joints, so they can "flap" up and down. The feet can be swing forward so Swoop can stand on them. Move the head down a bit and he faces forward while standing. Not only does this give you a way to display him standing, but it also shows off the details on the underside of his wings. The Mini-Con Powerlinx point is on the bottom of the beast, right where his belly would be.

Swoop is cast in red and dark grey plastic. Light grey paint apps can be found on the beast mode head and the wings. Metallic gold paint is used for arrow shaped details running down his back as well as an Autobot symbol on his left wing.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Swing the triangular piece on Swoop's back and the head forward.
  2. Split the red section of the wing from the grey section.
  3. Swing the grey sections of the wings together, and then connect the two using the red piece with the gold arrows on them.
  4. On the ends of the grey section, swing back each end to form the robot feet.
  5. Push the beast mode head back to reveal the robot head.
  6. Swing the red sections of the wings forward to form the robot arms.

Robot Mode:
Just as there have been many Triceratops transformations over the years, there have been a few pterodactyl transforms as well. Most center around the legs being over or under the main body with the arms coming out the sides (or some variation on the theme). In that respect this figure is unique, with the wings forming the arms and legs. On the one hand this design decision allows for a unique transformation, one strong point of any Transformer. However, what you lose in the process is articulation. Basically his head can nod up and down and his arms can move on ball joints. His legs are stuck in place since they are joined by the triangular red piece. All things considered I really don't have as much of a problem with this as one might expect. Considering the size of this figure and its potential to replicate pre-existing Mini-Con transformations, the trade off was worth it for this one figure.

Just because his articulation is limited, it doesn't mean that Swoop looks bad. His head is rather reminscent of G1 Swoop, with the long crest making up part of the top of the head, except here it sweeps forward instead of back. The robot face has the "chin strap" detail found on many Transformers going down from the sides of his head to his chin. The rest of the face is fairly normal with two eyes, a nose and a mouth. The arms are a bit stubby looking, mostly because they don't reach very far out forward. His sculpted details are not overwhelming, but rather there is just enough to look good including ridges on his feet.

Terrorsaur Review

Images:

Strength: 7 Intelligence: 6 Speed: 5 Endurance: 8 Rank: 4 Courage: 6 Fireblast: 5 Skill: 5

Since Grimlock transformed into one in G1, almost any line of dinosaur based Transformers includes a t-rex. For this Dinobots group, Terrorsaur is that t-rex. The name is so synonymous with the Beast Wars character that it took a bit of adjustment to get used to the name being ascribed to a t-rex, no less an Autobot.

Beast Mode:
There have been quite a few t-rex Transformers over the years, and they have run the gamut between being very angled and mechanical looking (such as G1 Grimlock) to being very smooth and organic looking (such as Beast Wars Megatron). From a distance, you would think Terrorsaur is like the latter. He does not have many hard angles at all. His overall form just flows, from the oval shaped head to the curve going from his back down to his tail.

What solidly places Terrorsaur in non-techno-organic territory are his sculpted details. Under his eyes are vents on either side of the head. On the upper body are vents as well. The tail has several armor sections running from side to side that give the illusion that they cover joints where the tail would bend. Following a design aesthetic seen on Knockdown, there are many layers to the details on the body and legs. On his sides you'll find triangular sections indented with vertical lines that almost appear organic. His legs have similar details as well running horizontally. Another interesting detail can be found inside his mouth. On the bottom jaw is the barrel of a weapon. T-rex Transformers often fire things from their mouths, but the toys don't always have a detail to show just what they're firing.

Terrorsaur has three points of articulation in this form. Each leg can move and his mouth can open and close. He has a Mini-Con Powerlinx point on the top of each leg.

Terrorsaur is cast in grey and green plastic. His eyes are colored yellow. The cut sections on his main body and legs are metallic red. His lower legs are painted metallic silver. It's a simple color scheme, but very effective since the red and silver contrast so well against the green.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Swing the tail up against the back.
  2. Swing the legs down.
  3. Split the upper part the head from the lower part, each half swings out.
  4. Turn the upper body around so the robot head faces forward.
  5. Move the arms around so they face forward.

Robot Mode:
Just as with Swoop and Knockdown, Terrorsaur's transformation results in a rather unique looking robot mode. The oddest part of the sculpt would be the arms, mainly because each has half a t-rex had as its hand. Thing is, there are now details to suggest fingers or even claws, so it looks odd. However, Mini-Cons with odd appendages is hardly a new thing, so the strength of the rest of the sculpt makes up for it. What is nice is that the aforementioned gun inside the beast mouth now winds up on the right "hand", giving him a weapon in robot mode.

The head sculpt is the part that impresses me the most. Out of the three Dinobots in this pack it is by far the most complex. The top looks like a three sided helmet, with tubes in between the center crest and the sides. He has some small protrusions next to his eyes and rounding out his jaw is a large "chinstrap" type detail. Overall this gives him a rather fierce appearance. The chest is formed from the side of the dinosaur body, so the triangular section is there with four raised lines going from right to left at angles, making for a unique and interesting design. The waist piece is rectangular, with several horizontal lines in a row.

No new colors are revealed in this form, but silver and red appear again on his face and eyes respectively.

Terrorsaur has seven points of articulation, mostly owing to his transformation scheme. This includes ball joints on his arms and his legs.

Final Thoughts:
The strength of this set is in its unconventional designs and transformations along with strong sculpts. As the opening salvo in a volley of beast-based Mini-Cons, the Dinobots make a good and strong impression. While part of the Classics line, don't expect these to be G1 Dinobots reborn. These are mainly for enthusiasts of Mini-Cons and smaller "pocket size" Transformers. They could have used a bit more articulation, but overall this set is recommended!